Toyota Tundra Problems: 4 Known Issues (Explained)

Toyota’s Tundra is a full-size pickup truck that has been in production since 1999.

The Tundra is an impressive performer on the pavement and off-road, and occupants can enjoy a comfortable and clutter-free cabin.

While it has many outstanding features, it has some problems of its own. We discuss the most common problems Toyota Tundra owners experience below.

1. Front Suspension Lower Ball Joint Wear

The lower ball joint in some Toyota Tundras is likely to wear faster than normal. This connects the wheels to the steering.

It’s also the medium that allows the driver to navigate the car effectively. Since different terrains cause different effects on a car, ball joints would wear out, eventually.

With the Tundra, however, there is a risk that it would wear faster because of improper finishing on the joints. This is a production error, and it is so severe that Toyota issued a recall for the affected vehicles.

One danger of premature wearing of the ball joints is that it can cause the driver to lose control of the truck. This could be partial or complete, and it can even lead to a crash on the highway.

Drivers complained about their ball joints “breaking”, causing them to go off track. Other drivers said they experienced the ball joints breaking on over two occasions. This type of frequency for one driver is quite alarming.

Car Complaints gives the 2006 Toyota Tundra model a 10.0 severity rating, which is the worst rating a car can get for a specific problem.

Possible Causes and Solutions

The cause of this problem is a manufacturing defect and due to the large number of affected vehicles, Toyota issued a recall to correct the error.

Warning signs of this issue include:

  • Difficulty in maintaining control
  • Increased steering effort
  • Significant vibration, and
  • High-pitched sounds (the sounds would get more pronounced as the ball joint wears further)

These are all signals that you should get your ball joint replaced as soon as possible.

Repairpal.com estimates that the replacement cost for the ball joints is more than $400 but less than $450. This includes labor costs.

If you intend to replace the ball joints yourself, you can save over $100. However, it is advisable to leave the job for the mechanics.

You should know that replacing your ball joints would require that you realign your wheels, which can cost more than $100, depending on the service provider.

Car Complaints put the ball joint repair cost at over $1000. This data is mainly for the 2006 model year.

Related: How Long Do Toyota Tundra Last? (Solved & Explained!)

2. Faulty Air Injection Pump

The air injection pump is a vital component of the truck’s emissions control system. It supplies clean air to the exhaust system.

This causes a more complete combustion process and reduces environmental pollution.

However, the Tundra’s air injection pump is known to constantly develop problems. It often leads to reduced fuel economy, secondary air pump failure, and harmful exhaust fumes because of improper combustion.

The Tundra also has a high severity rating on Car Complaints for its air pump.

Drivers complained of the engine stalling. Others had to spend more money on gasoline than they usually do.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Our research shows that the cause of the air injection system failure is the entry of moisture into the emission control system. When this happens, the vehicle goes into a “Fail Safe” mode, which reduces performance.

Owners will have to repair the emission control system at great cost.

You would usually get warning lights that alert you of the air injection pump failure.

Here are some of the signs:

  • Check Engine Light: While the “Check Engine” light may lag or come on too early, you should always investigate it. You should know that the “Check Engine” light may come on because of several other errors in the emissions system.
  • Engine Power Loss: Your engine would strain hard when you attempt to speed up. It may lag, and its output would diminish. When you observe this, get your truck checked. It may be because of one of many problems which could be the air injection pump.
  • Rough or Loud Sounding Engine: You must have gotten used to the normal sound of your engine. Therefore, it will be easy to identify a new sound if your engine makes one. It gets even easier since the sound made is usually a knocking or banging sound.

Expect to pay about $100 for your check light diagnosis. After the diagnosis, however, you may have to get your air injection pump replaced.

The average air injection pump replacement cost is about $520. It costs $1,265 to do the same thing in a Toyota Tundra.

Following this, you may also need to replace your emission control valve.

Related: Toyota Tundra In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

3. Exhaust Manifold Failure

The exhaust manifold in some Toyota Tundras is prone to leaks. The constant expansion and contraction that the manifold experiences regularly causes the metal to fracture and crack.

Drivers have observed ticking noises owing to the leaking manifold. They mostly observed the ticking noise when the engine was idle or cold. This may be because the manifold expands and seals the cracks when heated.

Furthermore, owners remarked that the ticking sometimes got very loud and discomforting. Others (who may have automobile mechanical experience) attempted to fix the problems themselves. They considered professionals too expensive.

The majority of drivers, however, suggest that Toyota should recall the affected vehicles.

Like many other problems that occur in the fuel system, exhaust manifold failure also causes an increase in fuel consumption.

The reduced fuel economy is always among the first problems drivers observe as it directly affects their bank accounts.

Possible Causes and Solutions

There are several causes of this problem. However, it seems the most common cause is a cam shaft tower seal leaking onto the exhaust.

Poor quality control during the sealing of the exhaust system is another potential cause of this problem.

If you have or are planning to buy a Tundra, ensure you watch out for any of the signs mentioned above because this would help you catch a problem early and get it fixed fast.

Other signs to look out for are thick black smoke from exhaust pipes and loud exhaust noise.

Also, ensure you protect the underbody of your truck from rust.

Rust may spread out to cause partial damage to the exhaust manifold. The gaskets may then corrode and eventually fail. Minor leaks that are caused by gasket failure are less expensive to fix.

The best step to take for a failing exhaust manifold is to have it replaced. The exhaust manifold replacement cost ranges from $1,190 to $1,340.

If you delay repair or replacement, it may cause additional problems with other components under the hood.

4. Transmission Slipping (The Strawberry Milkshake)

It’s not as pleasant as it sounds.

This problem usually occurs in certain models from 2000 to 2006 with automatic transmission.

Transmission failure can occur when the part of the radiator responsible for cooling the automatic transmission fluid ruptures. This causes a mixture of the automatic transmission fluid and the engine coolant.

The mixture develops into a pink fluid, hence the name strawberry milkshake.

This problem causes the transmission and engine to overheat. The overheating may cause partial damage to the engine. The transmission, however, if not taken care of sooner, may also require replacement.

Don’t forget to view the best and worst Toyota Tundra years.

Possible Solutions

You should change the radiator as soon as you observe the problem. Have your mechanic flush the engine cooling system and transmission.

Ensure you scrutinize the engine and transmission afterward, in case it develops any issues from the overheating that must’ve occurred.

The cost of replacing the radiator ranges from $570 to $610. The cost for your engine coolant change is about $80 to $105.

You should know that the above prices are estimates and may vary with the quotes you’ll get from different mechanics. You might pay more or less depending on your location.

Related: 11 Toyota Tundra Statistics You Should Know (Facts & Numbers)

5. Brake System Challenges

There has been concern among owners of the 2022 Toyota Tundra regarding the early wear of the brake rotors, which are responsible for the caliper’s grip and vehicle deceleration.

According to typical standards, these rotors are expected to last more than 70,000 miles under normal driving conditions. However, some owners have reported the replacement of their rotors at only 10,000 miles.

This has led to questions about why this issue is occurring and whether it is covered under warranty.

Some owners have pointed out that similar issues with earlier model years resulted in aftermarket replacements costing between $80 and $400. The frequency of these repairs on an otherwise robust vehicle like the Tundra has confused many.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received reports of two distinct brake-related concerns involving the Toyota Tundra.

A driver in New Mexico described an unexpected situation where the vehicle’s automated emergency brakes kicked in at approximately 20 miles per hour without any obstructions in the way.

Another issue was brought forth by a Wyoming owner who experienced severe brake fade while towing a trailer, which they attributed to an incorrect setup of the trailer’s brake controller.

However, there have been other, more general brake-related issues reported across different categories.

Causes and Solution

One owner suggested that Toyota may have opted for lighter rotors to improve fuel efficiency, raising questions about the long-term durability of these parts.

While reducing rotor weight can boost gas mileage, the increased need for replacements at an earlier mileage raises concerns.

Some have also proposed using carbon fiber brakes, which are both stronger and lighter, although they come at a higher cost.

Overall, the situation highlights the importance of addressing the issue of premature brake rotor wear in the 2022 Toyota Tundra.

Owners are advised to consult with their dealerships regarding any warranty coverage and explore alternative solutions for resolving the problem.

6. Electrical Concerns

The 2022 Toyota Tundra has encountered several glitches in its electrical system, causing inconveniences and safety concerns among owners.

Some of the most common issues include unexpected shutdowns of the engine and power steering, as well as intermittent blankness or whiteness of the reverse camera display.

Additionally, some owners have experienced difficulties with the front-view camera, which can lead to sudden stops while driving.

According to reports, these issues can be traced back to problems with the vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU), specifically with its computer system.

While Toyota has issued two recalls related to rearview camera malfunctions, many owners continue to experience these problems despite visiting the dealership multiple times.

In terms of infotainment issues, some users have reported difficulty using Apple CarPlay, such as having to select their profile before driving and experiencing frequent “connection failed” errors.

As a precautionary measure, Tundra owners are encouraged to remain vigilant about software updates and regular dealership visits to ensure their vehicles’ systems are functioning properly.

Any safety-related issues should be immediately reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

7. Throttle Body Issues

The Toyota Tundra 2022 model is the vehicle we are looking at. In 2022 this model had 10 complaints about throttle body delay on NHTSA for that year alone.

The majority of throttle body issues that are reported by vehicle owners concern the throttle surge, throttle lag, and unresponsive throttle.

These issues arise from a delayed response time, taking up to 3 to 4 seconds before the vehicle moves forward or jumps forward. Notably, this also happens in reverse.

An owner from Idaho expressed dissatisfaction with a “significant delay” in acceleration from a complete stop.

The complaint highlighted concerns about the vehicle overcompensating and forcefully launching forward, posing a potential risk of a severe collision.

Toyota has not issued a recall for this problem as yet.

Other Common Toyota Tundra Problems

While the Toyota Tundra is known for its durability and performance, some common problems have emerged, raising concerns among drivers.

Here is a quick look at some of these other problems:

  • Lack of Rust-Proofing: Drivers are concerned that the Toyota Tundra may be lacking in rust-proofing, potentially contributing to corrosion challenges.
  • Frame Corrosion: The Tundra has been linked to frame corrosion issues, as the frame’s built-in resistivity is inadequate to prevent corrosion. Vibrations in the vehicle frame have been reported as a source of potential corrosion-related structural issues.
  • Driveshaft Failure (2007 Model Year): Driveshaft failure has been reported by owners of the 2007 model year. At greater speeds, vibrations become evident, signaling probable drivetrain difficulties. Gears may make odd noises when accelerating or changing into reverse.
  • Failed Oxygen Sensor: The Check Engine light illuminates to signal that the exhaust coming from your vehicle is no longer being monitored properly. Depending on where you live and the year of your Tundra, this might cost between $300 and 375 dollars to fix.
  • Malfunctioning Fuel Pump: This defective fuel pump was widespread in 2018 and 2019 models, causing the engine to stall, and increasing the danger of an accident. However, it appears that this issue has been resolved in more recent models, as it is not included among the 2020 Toyota Tundra faults.

General Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of the Toyota Tundra:

Pros

Cons

Excellent durability and reliability Front SuspensionLower Ball Joint Wear
Various engine options (V8, V6, hybrid) Faulty Air Injection Pump
Exceptional off-road performance Exhaust Manifold Failure
Comfortable interior Transmission Slipping (The Strawberry Milkshake)
Good cargo capacity

We have a full rundown here of the amount of cargo space for each Toyota Tundra generation.

What Is the Resale Value of Previous Model Years

The Toyota Tundra is known for retaining its value over time. This is the norm for most Toyota vehicles.

The Tundra, however, won the Kelley Blue Book ‘Full-Size Truck Best Resale Value’ Award for 2021.

Model Year

Mileage (Miles)

Resale Value ($)

2010 132,000 11,433
2013 96,000 16,472
2015 72,000 22,987
2018 36,000 27,412
2020 12,000 38,726

What Do the Reviews Say?

“Toyota’s full-size pickup still offers brawny styling, excellent reliability, the massively spacious CrewMax cab, and — unique for a full-size pickup — standard accident avoidance tech. However, there’s also its subpar fuel economy, jittery ride, dated interior, and general lack of innovation”

Source: Autotrader.com

“Lowly fuel economy and unrefined road manners make it our least favorite full-size truck to drive daily. Still, the Tundra’s available crew cab has a huge back seat and loads of useful storage space. Although it’s not one of the best new pickup trucks, the 2020 Tundra will satisfy outdoorsmen and those who glorify the Toyota badge.”

Source: CarandDriver.com

Final Thoughts

If you own a Toyota Tundra, other than maintenance of your truck, keep yourself updated on news about recalls. A recall might affect your truck and you wouldn’t know.

You can search on the NHTSA website using your Vehicle Identification Number to be sure.

Also, always do your homework before purchasing any truck. This would show you potential problems that may arise and how to give extra attention to the affected parts.

Go Back: Problems for each Toyota model.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.